lead with the fingers

lead with the fingers

Postby Robert Coons » Sun Jun 19, 2011 2:14 pm

I have come across the principle of leading the force with the fingers in quite a few places, including Wu shi taijiquan and xingyibaguazhang.
This doesn't mean that the fingers are the part that moves the body, as the body must always move from the legs and dantien, but what it means is that the fingers act as a guide for the force to correctly transmit the jin to the end of the hand. When most people practice internal martial arts and do fali movements, they tend to get most of the li stuck in their body and not have it go to the tip of their hand, so leading with the fingers is a good way to get the li out of the hands.
I've been fooling around with this idea in yang shi taijiquan practice, especially in grasp sparrow's tail. My take on it is that the fingers always guide and help transform the force, but I'm looking for input on how to perform this function correctly?

I haven't been able to receive in depth body mechanics instruction in Yang shi taijiquan for several years as I am away from any teachers who can provide this type of training. Any good recommendations are welcome!! (so are bad ones of course :o )
Robert Coons
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Re: lead with the fingers

Postby Audi » Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:52 am

Hi Robert,

On this thread , Matt posted some writings from Fu Zhongwen, which included the following statement:

(v) Order of Movement. The shoulder guides the elbow. The elbow guides the wrist. The fingers lead the palm. While the palm leads the arm, the elbow and shoulder should be dropped and relaxed. Coordinate your waist and legs with your hands, elbows, and shoulders, so that the upper and lower parts of the body are all connected and flow as a unit. Your body should move in harmony and flow from one movement to another without using force. If you use force, your movements will look stiff and unnatural.

One of my own teachers also stresses that you do no want to move the fingers in such a way as to hide the Jin. For instance, when you want the Jin point to be in your forearm, you often need to bend the wrist and fingers backward to help make the Jin point prominent.

In my own practice, I usually think of the arm as participating in some sort of curve. In order for the curve to be complete, I make sure to extend the curve into the fingers. Even at the end of a posture like Push, I think of the fingers as completing a curve that starts with the shoulder, the neck, or even the crown of the head, depending on how good my visualization and my self-awareness are.

Take care,
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